The Sony Smartband is quite a different kind of device compared to many of the new digital wearables we have seen in the last year or so. It’s designed to be worn on a daily basis by the user, acting as an activity tracking and monitoring device, not a remote extension of your smartphone screen. Nicole Scott had her first taste of the Sony Smartband last weekend, read on for a look at what you get in the retail package and her first impressions of the device.
The Sony Smartband SWR10 has been designed to work specifically with their new LifeLog app which you can install on any Android 4.3 compatible smartphone (although Sony points out that the app is optimized for its Xperia range of smartphones). The app really is a key element in getting the most from the Sony Smartband, offering you a colorful UI that displays a graphical record of your activities based on the sensor data collected by the Smartband and your smartphone. When you combine all of this data, you are actually looking at one pretty huge data grab that includes your music listening activity, your phone calls, the photos you took, your social media time, backed and correlated with your physical activities and even the weather.
As Nicole notes in the video below, the app’s interpretation of the sensor data can at times be less than perfect. The device shows when you’re lying in bed, indicating that you are sleeping even when there is activity being logged on your phone. Also, one gripe that Nicole shares with us, is that her hour-long cycling session was logged as 1,700 steps – a little harsh? Perhaps.
Let’s look at the two parts of the device; the actual weights and dimension of the two wrist bands plus the module, followed by some technical specs.
Sony Smartband: Dimensions and Weights
• Module dimensions: 40.7mm x 15.3 mm x 8mm
• Large wrist band: 250mm
• Small wrist band: 214mm
• Module weight: 6 grams
• Weight with large band: 21 grams
• Weight with small band: 20 grams
Sony Smartband SWR10: Technical Specifications
• 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 Processor
• 16KB RAM
• 256MB Flash Storage
• Keys: One (On/Off)
• LED: 3 x white LED
• Bluetooth 4.0 LP
• NFC Pairing/Connecting
• USB Port (charging only)
• Integrated Vibrator
• 35mAh Lithium Polymer Battery (5 days)
• IP58 Certified (dust and water resistant)
• Compatible with any Android 4.3 device or later
In terms of specifications the Sony Smartband is ruthlessly optimized to be as lightweight and long lasting as possible – compare the Smartband to a regular smartphone or even a feature phone these technical details seem very, very paired down compared to what we are used to seeing. 16KB of RAM? I guess when you take away the display and therefore the GPU, you are left with a very well optimized device with a very small memory footprint. Interestingly, the ARM Cortex-M0 processor that drives the device is ARM’s smallest and is optimized for its low power signature and connectivity through Bluetooth 4.0, which is also optimized for extreme low power draw over extended periods.
Sony Smartband Gallery
Finally, I think it is very interesting that Sony is currently one of the few major players that have so far declined to join the Android Wear eco-system. Rivals Samsung, Intel, HTC and others are working with Google on its forthcoming wearable platform, but so far Sony has shown determination to follow its own path in the wearables segment. How long it will continue to do so will doubtless depend on the success of devices like the Sony Smartband and its LifeLog app.